Coronavirus now canceling commencement ceremonies

'No logic to sending people away ... then attempting to bring everybody back,' one leader says.
By: | March 16, 2020
With coronavirus canceling the traditional graduation ceremony, college leaders consider online alternatives or holing joint ceremonies with class of 2021.With coronavirus canceling the traditional graduation ceremony, college leaders consider online alternatives or holing joint ceremonies with class of 2021.

“All U-M commencement ceremonies are canceled,” says a statement on the University of Michigan’s coronavirus/COVID-19 update page. “We will look at ways to celebrate 2020 graduates in the future.”

Brigham Young University, Grinnell College, West Texas A&M, Grambling State and the Savannah College of Art and Design have also canceled graduation ceremonies, according to the Associated Press.

“We want to celebrate and cherish our students, but we must realize there is no logic to sending people away for the health and safety of all, and then attempting to bring everybody back in for a large gathering in May,” Grinnell College leaders said on the school’s website.

The Iowa college’s administrators are considering an online ceremony or perhaps bringing the Class of 2020 back in 2021 for a joint ceremony.


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“Formal graduation will be scheduled as soon as I believe it to be safe and in the interests of the health, safety, and welfare of our students, faculty, staff, and the general public,” West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler said on the school’s website. “A formal graduation could be late in the summer, or beyond.”

Brigham Young University says on its coronavirus information page that its “individual colleges will determine if convocations will be streamed.”

University of California, Irvine, also canceled its commencement ceremony over the weekend, advising students’ families not to make plans to travel to campus.

“We are actively looking at alternatives to celebrate our graduates in an appropriate manner,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Willie L. Banks Jr. said on the university’s coronavirus update page.


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At the University of Maine, which shifted all classes online last week, students held their own commencement ceremony in the student union, which was attended by about 1,200 people on Saturday, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Dean of Student Robert Dana participated in the event, the newspaper reported.

“No one knows yet whether our official commencement will be canceled,” the article author, Hailey Bryant wrote. “Ultimately, though, it’s not the ceremony that matters. It’s about celebrating our accomplishments and the community we’ve built, and by those standards, our homemade graduation was more than enough.”

College library adjusts to coronavirus

At the college library, a growing number of leaders are “radically changing their service model or closing altogether,” according to a survey currently being conducted by Ithaka S&R, a higher education services firm.

Three-quarters of libraries that responded to the survey have at least reduced their open hours while 8% have closed. Those that remain open are limiting service, canceling programs and allowing more employees to work from home.